Natural Supplements to Fight Cancer
DISCLAIMER: I am not a qualified physician and none of the below should be read as medical advice. I am merely sharing my research.
There is definitely not a "one size fits all" approach to supplementation in cancer as it should depend on several factors including your health in general, your cancer and your treatment programme. Since my diagnosis in June 2016, I have read numerous books, consulted a plethora of doctors, both conventional and natural, attended oncology conferences and trawled the internet pretty much constantly in an attempt to educate myself on my condition and how I might get better. I have met many other cancer survivors, and I always love to read their protocols in an attempt to glean more information. I therefore thought it might be useful share my own research. Based on my own research, my regime is self-imposed and self-prescribed, and rarely static as I tend to tweak it daily based on the previous day’s research.
When first diagnosed, I gleaned a lot of my supplement ideas from reading books on my cancer reading list. However, a few years on, I am constantly updating my supplement research and rejigging what I take to ensure it's in line with what my body currently needs, that it complements treatments I am doing, by either potentiating them or mitigating side effets, and that I am using the most up to date research. In this regard, it's possibly better to trawl research online via Google Scholar (which filters out rubbish from blogs such as this one:) where you can read the most up to date academic research, rather than reading books which may be a a year or so out of date by the time they are published. The books I mention however will still give you a good grounding in the subject. As well as trawling pubmed online, there is a free app About Herbs compiled by Sloan Kettering Memorial Hospital which is a useful listing of hundreds of herbs, vitamins and other natural substances that claim to have anti-cancer effects. Each entry includes a clinical summary, mechanism of action, food sources and herb drug interactions, all heavily referenced with the scientific research underpinning each. And if you can't install the app for some reason, the same information is available online.Most of the supplements I take are natural and available on iherb, however latterly, I have been delving more into repurposed drugs.
Below is a list of the supplements I have been researching and taking from time to time, although not all necessarily simultaneously or currently.
Curcumin/turmeric - curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric so many just take curcumin but some studies show ("How not to Die" by Michael Greger) that the whole substance e.g. turmeric, may be more effective. Best taken with fat & black pepper, the latter of which increases absorption of the turmeric by up to 2000%.
I buy it the Dr' Best brand of Curcumin on iherb which I was first alerted to when the case of Dieneke Ferguson came out last in 2018, claiming she had "cured" herself of myeloma with apparently just this very brand of curcumin.
Zinc - There is data suggesting zinc supplementation (or taken along with Disulphuram, an alcohol abuse drug) can help fight cancer. https://www.cancertreatmentsresearch.com/unlocking-zincs-potential-to-fight-cancer/
90mg may be a safe dose, given it was this amount given to bladder cancer patients in a study comparing relapse rates.
See this scientific paper also on zinc: "TPEN was much more efficient to inhibit pancreatic adenocarcinoma cell growth than a panel of anti-cancer drugs, including 5-fluorouracil, irinotecan, cisplatin, edelfosine, trichostatin A, mitomycin C, and gemcitabine, the gold standard chemotherapeutic agent for pancreatic cancer."
However, there is also a study of pancreatic cancer patients performing better when their zinc was depleted". Here is the link to the full source:
Glass of homemade kefir. This is jam packed with probiotics to keep the gut healthy. If you would like to learn how to make your own which is effectively free, read the kefir notes from Lantaumama or register for a fermenting class if you reside in Hong Kong.
Vit D – this is a fat soluble vitamins and should therefore be taken with fat (e.g. butter on your toast, avocado etc.)
Selenium – the food source most rich in selenium is brazil nuts with just 2 nuts per day more than adequate to reach the RDA according to this research on brazil nuts from the US Department of Health . Try to buy raw organic brazil nuts soak them overnight to increase their nutritional content and improve their digestability.
Vit B12 in the methylated form– I am likely to be deficient in this as I am homozygous MTHFR as per my 23andme test. Better to take in morning otherwise it may keep you awake. Also good to take this if you are taking metformin as latter impedes your B12 absorption.
Dandelion - supportive for the liver
Pomi-T - this is a supplement available on Amazon and contains green tea, pomegranate, broccoli and turmeric – prostate cancer study shows these work synergistically:
Omega 3 oil - this has been shown to increase efficacy of carboplatin chemo and improve survival in NSCLC. However it may reduce activity of cisplatin so avoid on this chemo drug. A new study showed that the debris leftover from chemotherapy attacking cancer cells, can actually stimulate new tumour growth. However, by using resolvins such as omega 3 or aspirin, this can suppress this response. That said, a study published in Jan. 2018 shows fish oils may make the liver susceptible to steatohepatitis which could act as a catalyst for cirrhosis and liver cancer! Latterly however I have switched to shark liver oil:
Graviola – shown to downregulate EGFR expression in BC patients. My EGFR is amplified.
Biobran MGN-3 – made from rice bran extract and enzymes from the shiitake mushroom, this is expensive but available on Amazon. Especially good during chemo as it boosts the immune system as per this research from pubmed. Read how Biobran works.
Quercetin – the “phytosome”version on iherb is meant to be best in terms of bioavailability. The supplement manufacturer claims that its patented phytosome technology allow quercetin to properly cross the gut wall. Otherwise, you can find cheaper quercetin supplements on iherb. That said, recent research has made me believe the body cannot absorb quercetin readily...
Amalaki/Amla – this is a food source of vitamin C in case your body does not respond well to synthetic sources and a powerful antioxidant with anti-tumour properties you can read about on Sloan Kettering's website. Amalaki is available at SpiceBox Organics in Hong Kong. Otherwise, iherb sells this one.
Boswellia extract– while many speak of the cancer fighting properties of frankincense oil, most success stories seem to be anecdotal whereas there is stronger research supporting boswellia extract, the active ingredient in frankincense. There is a “phytosome”version of boswellia on iherb which is meant to be best in terms of bioavailability. An in vitro study showed boswellia has similar cytotoxic effects compared to 5FU (chemo drug) and there is an ongoing breast and colon cancer trial using boswellia: Note this is also useful in reducing brain swelling in the case of brain mets.
Broccoli sprouts - broccoli is probably your no.1 cancer fighting vegetable, raw or lightly steamed (opinions diverge on this) and broccoli sprouts are even better. Sprouting them yourself is no doubt even better to do but it's labour intensive and my first batch turned mouldy quite quickly despite rinsing them with citric acid as recommended.
Ashwaganda –food source of Vit C and also promotes good sleep. There is also some research showing it desensitizes cells for radiation and enhances the therapy
Epsom salts (magnesium sulphate) -take a bath with a cup of epsom salts as your body can absorb magnesium this way, according to this study from the University of Birmingham, (albeit funded by the Epsom Salt Council so not independent), so makes a change from taking the supplement. In Hong Kong you can pick this up relatively cheaply at Fanda on Des Voeux Road for $35 for 2 cups worth (enough for 2 baths) or online at I Detox. There are also some magnesium oil sprays around which you can spray directly onto the skin, or if you live in Hong Kong, you can visit Float On and float in their magical magnesium baths! I have visited them a few times now and you can read my review of Float On here.
Milk thistle - I buy Legasil brand, the same one used in a lung cancer study where it was seen to shrink brain mets. Available at this Italian pharmacy online who deliver worldwide: This one does contain Vitamin E however which is slightly contraversial for cancer patients, but the overall outcome from the study was positive.
Melatonin (20mg supposed to be a sufficient dose to kill cancer cells) plus helps you to sleep. Useful for managing jetlag or insomnia.
IP6 - I take this on an empty stomach, but it can have an anti platelet effect so I avoid when platelets are low e.g. during chemo.
N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine - I found research that taking this along with Vitamin E could have a antioxidant effect as an adjuvant therapy on the body during chemo (but little else to support it when not doing chemo).